Letter: Egyptian torture

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The Independent Online
Sir: Again Robert Fisk has alerted us to the West's reluctance to criticise Egypt's treatment of dissidents ("Islamists punished in Egypt's cruel jails", 1 November). However, he should have mentioned the only morally proper solution to the endless spiral of conflict between the regime and opposition groups in that country.

The Egyptian government and, it seems, its Western backers, believe that the Islamic wave can be defeated in the torture chamber. This policy is failing simply because no one has grasped the elementary lesson that religious movements are always strengthened rather than destroyed by persecution.

It is time the world pressed the secularist Arab regimes to include Islamic parties in the democratic process. The West must either permit the creation of moderate Islamic governments now, or face the probability that the pent-up frustration and hatred will lead to revolutions, whose leaders, their bodies bearing the scars of torture equipment supplied by the West, are unlikely to look upon the Western torch bearers of democracy and human rights with much admiration.

HOSSEIN OWEIDAH

London N3

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